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I am often asked after speaking engagements “what is it like to be successful?” – I answer that ‘success’ is in the eye of the beholder – each person has their own definition, success is a personal notion; for some it is financial security – for others it is the depth of their friendships.

I happened upon an old survey that I completed years ago. I’m not sure where it came from (as I had it in a spread sheet) but I was asked to rank from 1 to 10 each of the questions below. (10 representing doing really well.) In some way the questions represent a notion of ‘success’. Over time my answers may change. Interesting, however that most of the questions do relate to those five fundamental components of well-being documented by the New Economic Forum

  1. People Connection
  2. Being Active
  3. Take Notice
  4. Learning
  5. Give

Take a moment and rate yourself – and see where you want to focus your energy (not all questions might be relevant). Your own ‘success’ and well-being is a personal journey.

  • Finding meaningful and fulfilling work? ___
  • Finding suitable spouse partner? ___
  • Building a successful relationship with your spouse/partner? ___
  • Raising your children? ___
  • Building and/or maintaining a close relationship with your parents? ___
  • Building and/or maintaining a close relationship with your siblings? ___
  • Developing close friendships? ___
  • Stewarding your financial resources? ___
  • Living up to your intellectual potential? ___
  • Nurturing your spiritual potential? ___
  • Dealing with your fears? ___
  • Finding wisdom? ___
  • Taking care of your physical health? ___
  • Taking care of your emotional health? ___
  • Being of service to others? ___
  • Being at one with yourself? ___
  • Accepting your limitations? ___
  • Coming to terms with aging and your own mortality? ___
  • Everyone at birth is ‘dealt a hand,’ so to speak rate the quality of the ‘hand’ you were dealt? ___
  • Overall, rate yourself on how well you believe you have played the game of life, given the hand you were dealt? ___

I have always operated believing that ‘if it is meant to be it is up to me’ – Where did you score below 5? And what are you going to do to work on that area. I’m reviewing my life in terms of the above and there is actions to be taken…

It is just as important to ask yourself hard questions about your life – and review how it is going – as it is for a business.

Reader Interactions


  1. The purpose of life is to be happy. Sadly most of us don’t understand the nature of happiness, let alone how to achieve this state. Your quiz rightly highlights the four essential components of happiness: Contentment (with ourselves and personal circumstances), Connection, Contribution and Growth (i.e. learning and development). Complete happiness requires meeting our needs with respect to all of these. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book “The how of happiness” provides a pretty good road map. Understanding the nature of happiness and that each component is the result of our developing a corresponding skill set is the true path to happiness and fulfillment.

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